The 2013 Moto2 rider line up is proving to be rather fluid. The latest in a series of changes to the line up is the departure of Toni Elias from the Blusens Avintia Moto2 team, after a season of disappointing results: the 2010 Moto2 champion's best finish this year was a 9th place at Jerez.
Despite the loss of the factory Yamaha team, the World Superbike series is still in relatively good health, considering the financial crisis. Though the days of 30+ rider grids are gone, grid size has stabilized at around the 22 rider mark, 1 up from last year, while there are still 6 manufacturers present, Aprilia, BMW, Ducati and Kawasaki in an official capacity, Honda unofficially via Ten Kate, and Suzuki absent, with Crescent working with Yoshimura on their own bikes.
The field has seen some changes, though most of the title favorites are staying with the teams they were with in 2011. Carlos Checa remains with Althea Ducati, though the effort expands to include 2011 Superstock champ Davide Giugliano, while Max Biaggi is in the second year of his 2-year contract with Aprilia, and Johnny Rea is staying with the Ten Kate Honda squad. Championship runner up Marco Melandri has been forced to move, joining Leon Haslam at BMW, while his erstwhile teammate Eugene Laverty has been paired with Biaggi in the factory Aprilia squad. The factory Kawasaki rider contingent is cut from 3 to 2, Chris Vermeulen losing his slot, while Tom Sykes remains alongside Joan Lascorz.
Provisional rider entry list for the 2012 World Superbike series:
It has been clear for some time that 2012 would bring a major shake up in World Superbikes. With Yamaha announcing their withdrawal from the series and Althea looking doubtful of continuing, all the way up until Sunday afternoon at Portimao, it has been very difficult to sketch the outlines of a rider line up for next season. But after the hectic round of negoiating at the final round of the 2011 season in Portimao, at least part of the equation has become clear, and a relatively healthy-looking WSBK grid is starting to take shape.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying on Saturday at the Motorland Aragon ciruit near Alcañiz in Spain:
Well, the presses have stopped rolling, and a stack of MotoMatters.com 2011 Motorcycle Racing Calendars are sitting at the printers waiting to be delivered. That means shipping will start some time on Monday (or Tuesday morning at the latest), and the calendars will start winging their way to their lucky owners.
It also means that the pre-sale period will come to an end, and the price will go up, from $19.95 plus S&H to $21.95 plus S&H. So if you want to take advantage of our pre-sales discount, secure in the knowledge that your calendar is just a few days away from dropping onto your doormat, then you have to hurry. The prices go up on Monday night.
Reports of testing are starting to sound increasingly like a broken record, with weather being a constant factor preventing the teams from testing properly. The second day of testing for a small group of World Superbike riders at Portimao turned into another washout, with heavy rain and cold temperatures wracking the Portuguese coast.
The wet weather continues to thwart any attempts at testing racing motorcycles. After the Moto2 test at Jerez was largely lost to rain, the first day of testing for a large part of the World Superbike paddock at Portimao suffered a similarly damp fate. With rain falling nearly all day, the assembled riders barely got out onto the track, posting just a few laps before heading back into the pits.
After the huge success of the past two years, the Motomatters.com 2011 Motorcycle Racing Calendar is about to hit the printing presses. To expedite shipping and the organizational challenges we face, we're ready to start taking orders for the calendars, so we can ship them out to you as soon as we receive them.
Testing continued on Thursday for the World Superbike grid at the Motorland Aragon circuit, and with Carlos Checa having taken his leave early to head to Estoril for an outing aboard the Pramac Ducati MotoGP bike, it was Max Biaggi's turn to top the timesheets. Biaggi took nearly seven tenths of his time from Wednesday, after having spent the session testing new brakes from Brembo. The Italian judged them to be a big improvement, but the increase in braking power made the bike difficult to control on the brakes. More setup work will be required, according to the Italian, which will continue tomorrow.